Sunday, September 18, 2011

Technique, slippers, or floor?

I'm having a bit of a problem where during certain movements I'm finding that my feet slip on the floor.

For example, we have a simple combination of two balancés (forward and back) followed by two clockwise chaînés turns. Then the pattern repeats. Coming out of the second chaînés turn I place my right foot down and as I bring my left foot up behind it my right foot slides a little along the axis of travel. Not enough to dump me on the ground, but it throws me off balance. Where is the problem?

Some random thoughts:
  • Is this an error in technique? Maybe I'm too far off balance to begin with, and expecting too much traction from a floor designed to allow turns without tearing up knees?
  • My shoes are canvas with split soles (Capezio Cobra). I've had them for about 5 months now. They're worn about two hours a week.
  • If I brush the sole of the shoe with my hand after completing one of our combos, it comes away feeling like the shoe had picked up dust, though there's nothing to see on my hand. The shoes don't show any real sign of dirt, but they are black in color. Is this normal?
  • The floor is wood and used only for dance instruction.
  • We don't use rosin.
  • I'm usually at the front of the room, which is an area that probably gets minimal use.
  • Someone suggested dampening the suede pads on my shoes. I've tried doing this cautiously, not wanting to damage the shoe or the floor. It gives a brief increase in traction, but within a steps they're dry to the touch again and I'm back to slipping.
I've given serious thought to going in one evening and wiping down the floor with a slightly damp cloth.

Any other ideas?


  1. You could use a suede brush on the leather pads of your slippers to raise the nap of the suede. And...

    You might tell the instructor/management about your experience and offer to dry mop the studio floor and see if that helps. You would be surprised how much dust can accumulate.

  2. Thanks, Jill. I'll try the suede brush. Some areas do look a bit too shiny to afford much traction.

    I'll ask what they do to clean the floor, and whether we can do something about the slick spots. I used to threaten to bring in a portable barre; now I can threaten to show up with a Swiffer mop. :-)

  3. Generally I've only used leather slippers on wood floors because I find canvas to be a bit slick, though it depends a bit on the surface area of the sole patches (I prefer shoes with smaller sole patches, so the bottom of the slipper is largely canvas, i.e., very slippery!). Conversely, I can't wear leather on marley floors because I get stuck!

    You may want to ask if it's okay to use rosin. I danced on wood floors growing up and we always had the wooden tray of rosin in the corner. Marley eliminates the need for it, but I kind of miss the rosin box ritual :)

  4. Thanks for the comments, Rori. We can't use rosin because they teach all sorts of classes on this floor (ballroom, hip-hop, you name it) and they don't want it sticky. I, too, remember the rosin box from days of old -- I discovered it after I landed a jump just a bit off-center and my foot slid, landing me on my face.

    I scuffed up the suede pads on my slippers before class this evening and tried to stay in the center of the floor. I felt more secure, but we didn't do any turning combinations so I'm not sure that it helped.

  5. Is the floor waxed? If it is also used for ballroom, then there is a strong possibility that the ballroom shoes are waxed, and some of that is getting onto the floor.
    Too bad you cannot use rosin.
    Do not worry about hurting the canvas shoes with suede soles by getting them wet - they can actually be washed in the machine (no softener, though, and no dryer!) and do fine.
    We often have a wet towel ready for people to step on to get their slippers damp. They have to do that often before eery exercise.
    Damp-mopping before class helps, too, but only for a ahort time. washing with coca-cola is good, too, but the other dance-class participants will not like it. :o



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